Anticipating: ‘The Florida Project’ and ‘Wonderstruck’
This weekend is going to be really fun as we discuss both The Florida Project and Wonderstruck on Episode 247. Both films are centered upon children who are viewing their worlds through a certain perspective, something that we tend to vigorously respond to in film.
Usually when we do these Anticipating posts, I have not seen the films yet. Well in this case I have already seen The Florida Project, the latest film from director Sean Baker. If you recall, Baker’s directorial debut Tangerine was heavily praised and made quite a few Top 10 lists in 2015. Obviously I won’t spoil anything here, but I’ll say for now that Tangerine was not a one-hit-wonder for Baker. The Florida Project is worthy of the praise it’s been receiving so far, at least for the most part.
However, it’s not going to be a film for everyone. The Florida Project will turn off certain audiences who aren’t keen on films that feature despicable characters. From a characterization standpoint, it will test your patience. But at the same time, there’s so much more to what Baker is tapping into with his latest film. There is so much to appreciate in terms of themes, the cinematography and color palette, William Dafoe’s performance and the overall charm it has regarding its notions of childhood. In that sense alone, it’s a film worth seeking out.
Is it one of the year’s best films? Well, you’ll have to tune into #247 to hear more on that. For now, just go see it if you can.
Additionally to The Florida Project, we are also getting Todd Haynes’ latest film in Wonderstruck. Similar to Baker, Haynes is coming off a film in Carol that also made many Top 10 lists in 2015. As much as I love Far From Heaven, Carol is arguably Haynes’ best film to date. Well he’s now following that up with a more family-friendly film in Wonderstruck, based on the book by author Brian Selznick. If the name Selznick rings a bell, he also wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the book that Martin Scorsese used for his film Hugo – one of the best films of 2012. So we’ve already seen how Selznick’s material works on screen in the hands of a capable filmmaker.
Wonderstruck also sees Haynes re-teaming with Julianne Moore, a great actress who shines wonderfully in the worlds that Haynes constructs for her. And that has me pretty excited, along with other members of the cast, including Michelle Williams and Oakes Fegley – who we absolutely adored in Pete’s Dragon last year.
The biggest question regarding Wonderstruck is how Haynes handles the varying timelines of the film. The story is centered on a young boy in the Midwest and simultaneously a young girl in New York – from fifty years ago. That sounds slightly tricky in having to maneuvere those two storylines to make one cohesive experience, but I do trust Haynes to make that work.
All in all, it’s going to be a great weekend. Are you excited for The Florida Project or Wonderstruck?
Here’s what else is coming to theaters this weekend:
Murder on the Orient Express
Daddy’s Home 2
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (expanding)
Roman J. Israel, Esq (expanding)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (limited)